Build a Raised Bed Garden for Yourself & Your Community

By Wendi Jiang, Just Garden Project Program Coordinator

Raised Bed

Building a garden can sound like a daunting task – and so, season after season, would-be gardeners settle for a couple of potted plants on the front steps while secretly envying their neighbor’s beds that are bursting with brightly colored rainbow chard, plump tomatoes and deliciously fragrant basil. If garden envy is something that you, too, have struggled with, turn that garden envy into garden pride!

An easy way to get your garden going is by building raised beds, a surprisingly quick and easy process that will reward you with beautiful, fresh produce for seasons to come.

The instructions here are for one 4’x8’ bed that is raised 10 inches off the ground. However, the same principles apply to building any shape bed, so feel free to play around with dimensions to make your garden work best for you and your space.

Materials you will need:

  • 2 – 2”x10”x8’ untreated fir or cedar wood boards
  • 2 – 2”x10”x4’ untreated fir or cedar wood boards
  • 12 – 4” coated sinker nails (or deck screws if you have a drill)
  • cardboard
  • 1 cubic yard of soil (we recommend Cedar Grove’s Garden Mix)
  • a hammer
  • a wheelbarrow
  • a shovel
  • a couple helpful friends (not necessary, but it will make for a quicker and more pleasant garden build!)

Once you have gathered your supplies, it is time to build your garden beds! To begin, find a flat, level surface on which you can construct your garden bed frames. Next, nail the boards together to make your rectangular garden bed and move the bed to its final resting spot (the sunnier the spot, the better).

If grass is currently growing where you want your garden to be, it’s a good idea to dig up the grass (and ideally the roots, too) prior to filling your bed with soil. Then, lay down cardboard to prevent any existing weeds from growing. Use the wheelbarrow to dump soil into your bed and the shovels to break up and spread the soil about your bed. Water the soil and make sure to let the soil sit for at least a week before planting (longer is better). This will give the soil time to settle, let micro-organisms begin to populate and establish soil structure.  Finally, plant your seeds and starts and enjoy gardening in your very own garden!

To learn more about what crops grow well in our climate, when to plant and organic gardening tips, pick-up a copy of our Maritime Northwest Garden Guide or contact the Garden Hotline (206) 633-0224 or help@gardenhotline.org.

Build Raised Beds in Redmond

Want to gain some hands-on experience building garden beds and help out some neighbors? Come out to the Just Garden Project’s Spring Into Bed event on Saturday, May 18 in Redmond! We still need several more volunteers to help build raised bed gardens for families with low-incomes. They’ll get a brand new garden to help feed their families, and you’ll gain all the knowledge and confidence you need to build a garden yourself. And it’s a darn good time!JGP_FINAL LOGO

  • Where: Old Firehouse Teen Center, 16510 NE 79th St, Redmond
  • When: Saturday, May 18 Build 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Celebrate 2-4 p.m.

Let us know you’re coming on Facebook! For more information, visit springintobed.org. If you have questions or want to volunteer, email Wendi at wendijiang@seattletilth.org.

5 responses to “Build a Raised Bed Garden for Yourself & Your Community

  1. The raised bed gardening is one of brilliant and useful gardening methods. Using raised beds for gardening can reduce the maintenance as well as work for it. In this amazing blog post, well explained about the building of raised bed garden. Really, very valuable content has been posted with effective writing. Thank you for posting this one.

  2. I want to build cedar raised garden beds in my yard. I am trying to find the best place in the South Seattle/nearby area to buy the cedar materials. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

    • Hi Jane, apologies for the delayed response. You caught us just as we were getting ready for our plant sale this past weekend. We forwarded your question to The Garden Hotline and here’s what they have to say:

      Check out lumber vendors like Compton Lumber Co. (3847 1st Ave S), Stewart Lumber and Hardware (1761 Rainier Ave S), McClendon Hardware in White Center (10210 16th Ave SW) or Dunn Lumber in Renton (120 Factory Ave N). Make sure it’s not treated in any way.

      Hope that helps!

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